Significance and History
Crowder State Park began in 1938 as a living memorial to General Enoch Crowder, and has grown to become a mosaic of natural resources, recreational opportunities and cultural resources, unique to northern Missouri.
Enoch Crowder was born a few miles from the Thompson River, in Edinburg, Missouri. Known as the “Father of the Selective Service” (the military draft), General Crowder had a military and political career that began in the 1880s and continued through World War I.
Across much of northern Missouri, large-scale agriculture has replaced native landscapes with farm fields. The combination of mature upland forest, savanna and prairie remnants, floodplain, rocky outcrops and glacial residue make this an uncommon and significant landscape in northern Missouri. The park has grown from its original 640 acres to 1912 acres, allowing the possibility of establishing designated state natural areas in the new acquisition.
Developed facilities include the organized group camp, Camp Grand River; the public campground, with 42 campsites; the 20-acre Crowder Lake which provides swimming, fishing and canoeing; thirteen miles of trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding; three shelter houses; and numerous picnic sites.
Evidence of Native people and European settler occupation calls for a prescription of protection and interpretation of how and why they lived their lives here. Crowder Lake covers what was once a permanent Indian camp. Of more recent vintage is the Thompson house, built in the 1830s, and that family’s cemetery. Even more recently, is the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) handprint on the area: Crowder Lake, stone walls and facility manager’s residence.
The mission of Crowder State Park is to preserve, protect and interpret large tracts of forested northern Missouri land and other natural resources; to provide recreational opportunities compatible with the resource base; and to preserve, protect and interpret the cultural resources.
Doug Eiken, Director, Division of State Parks, 02/06/04
Jane Lale, Director, Planning and Development Program, 01/25/04
Paul Anders, Park Superintendent, Crowder State Park, 01/30/04